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Holy Motors (2012)

Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy | 4 July 2012 (France)
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From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the shadowy life of a mystic man named Monsieur Oscar.

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28 wins & 68 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mr. Oscar / Le Banquier / La Mendiante / L'O.S de la Motion Capture / M. Merde / Le Père / L'Accordéoniste / Le Tueur / Le Tué / Le Mourant / L'Homme au Foyer
...
Céline (as Édith Scob)
...
Kay M
...
Eva Grace (Jean)
Elise Lhomeau ...
Léa (Élise)
Jeanne Disson ...
Angèle
...
L'Homme à la tache de vin
...
Le Dormeur / Voix Limousine (as LC)
Nastya Golubeva Carax ...
La Petite Fille
Reda Oumouzoune ...
L'Acrobate Mocap
Zlata ...
La Cyber-Femme
Geoffrey Carey ...
Le Photographe / Voix Limousine
...
L'assistante photographe
Elise Caron
Corinne Yam
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Storyline

We see a few seconds of a black and white, silent art film. There is a dark movie theater filled with people watching this film. The camera mostly remains on the audience. Cut to a man sleeping on twin bed with a sleeping dog next to another empty twin bed with the same sheets. He gets up and looks out the window and we see he is next to an airport. One of the walls is covered in wallpaper with skinny bare trees. He puts his ear to the wall. There is a hole in the wall and he looks through it but we don't know if he can see anything. He has a metal instrument on the middle finger of his right hand. He sticks the instrument into the hole in the wall. His hand shakes a little and he turns the instrument. This allows him to open a door in the wall. The dog joins him as he steps through the door. There is a set of double doors and he steps through them. It seems as though he has stepped through the fire exit on the balcony of a movie theater, presumably the theatre that the film opened in...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

4 July 2012 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Sveti motori  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie is dedicated to Russian actress, the late Yekaterina Golubeva, Leos Carax's life partner and the mother of his child. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Oscar: [exhorting his accordion band] Trois! Douze! Merde!
[English: Three! Twelve! Shit!]
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Katya, for you" with a picture of Yekaterina Golubeva during the closing credits. See more »

Connections

References Eyes Without a Face (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Who Were We?
Lyrics by Leos Carax and Neil Hannon
Music by Neil Hannon
Orchestrated and arranged by Andrew Skeet
Performed by Kylie Minogue and Berlin Music Ensemble
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Life is work. Art is work. Observing is work. Isn't that beautiful?
30 November 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The criticism I'm hearing most about "Holy Motors" is that it's about nothing. That it means nothing. That they - the unhappy viewer - needs more from their movies than random events strewn together without logic. As if the road to nowhere is not interesting in and of itself to them. It makes me wonder, why don't we expect our concept of narrative to be challenged more in the movies we consume? Why don't we put forth as much effort in confronting art, as the artist has put forth in confronting us?

"Holy Motors" is, to me, an act of filmic hypnosis. It made the cinema lover in me immediately and deeply happy from frame one (and not just because it references so much cinema of the past and critiques trends in the cinema of the present). I appreciate that film is not simply just another way of telling a story. Film is painting with light. It features human beings at play. It is design and photography and fashion and imagination. Of all the things cinema embraces... story is just a single element. So how did it become the MOST important element? Or, even more baffling to me, when did our idea of story itself become so tepid?

The story in "Holy Motors" is writ large. It scans like a modern myth. Like the oldest stories the human race tells. It features improbable and fantastical things happening along a journey. Its protagonist is a modern Ulysses trekking through the strange and fabled land of human experience, always searching for home. It is the only story ever told. And yet, again and again I hear people say that the movie has no narrative. No character they can connect to. No meaning.

Just because director Leos Carax is playful and tenuous with "meaning" doesn't mean it's not there. This is a film that is both about the drudgery and the exhilaration of creating for a living. It follows a day in the life of an artist. An artist always on the move. Sometimes that artist is tired, sometimes inspired, sometimes longing, sometimes exactly in the right place at the right time.

A friend I saw it with was bored. I still can't even understand how that's possible. Here's a movie in which anything can happen. In which any image can be juxtaposed with any other. In which the central architecture is not some obscuring three-act structure built out of a tired overplayed premise, but instead, is a careening litany of virtually every possible premise available. It readily teeters from overindulgent spectacle to tiny truth and back again as it explores, but never fusses over, the role of new technology in cinema, complications of identity, the strange job of acting for a living and so much more...

Most importantly though, the movie is about being on the job. The job of being human. Doing the work of being alive.

And we, the viewer, we work too. We work for meaning in the dark of the theater. We work to help fashion the story. To find the true character at the center of the experience. To understand where the human heart falls in all this flailing, anything-goes madness.

Life is work. Art is work. Observing is work. Isn't that beautiful?

"Cinema is a territory. It exists outside of movies. It's a place I live in. It's a way of seeing things, of experiencing life. But making films, that's supposed to be a profession." - Leos Carax


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